Am I Normal? review: Deep-dive sets us straight on our need for norms

When it comes to human physiology, behaviour and social interaction, it is time to abandon a 200-year hunt for normal people, argues Sarah Chaney in her new book

Humans 10 August 2022

group of people standing very close - one person looking up

Henrik Sorensen/Getty images

Am I Normal?

Sarah Chaney

Wellcome Collection

A PAIR of unusual gloves, belonging to 19th-century polymath Francis Galton, lie in University College London. Galton was the man who coined the term eugenics to describe beliefs and practices that aim to “improve” the genetic quality of a human population.

His motto was “whenever you can, count”, so he decided to put a pin in the thumb of his left glove and a felt pad, covered by a strip of paper, across its fingers. By touching different fingers with the pin, Galton could track the things he saw without others noticing.

One …

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